IPB constitution

IPB Constitution
(to be read in conjunction with the Rules of Procedure)
1. Name

The English-language name of the organisation is the International Peace Bureau (IPB). It may be known under other names in different languages.

2. Legal Status

The IPB is an association as defined by Art.60 et seq of the Swiss legal code. Its legal domicile is Geneva.

3. Aims and Responsabilities

The IPB is an international non-governmental peace organisation.
It exists to serve the cause of peace by the promotion of disarmament, the non-violent prevention and resolution of conflicts and international cooperation.

IPB is politically and religiously neutral, but it firmly believes that peace is best reached and maintained when all human communities from the local to the global level are governed according to democratic principles.

IPB affirms the importance of multilateralism and of working through the UN system. Members of the IPB commit themselves to working together as a network to sharing ideas, information and resources and to the creation of joint projects.

To realize these aims and commitments, the IPB maintains an International Secretariat, which, in cooperation with the Officers and Steering Committee, has the responsibility for:

-facilitating communication between groups and individuals working for peace, and aiding in the sharing of ideas, resources and information
-organising international conferences and seminars
-representing and assisting the membership at the United Nations, other international forums and diplomatic missions
-issuing publications and other materials
-campaigning internationally on peace issues
-carrying out research
-working in liaison with offices representing IPB around the world
-carrying out such other tasks as agreed by the membership and their representatives.

4. Membership

a. Categories:
IPB has four categories of membership:
Full members :
national/international peace organisations
local/area peace organisations
Associate members :
associated organisations – organisations which include peace as just one of their aims and want to support IPB’s work for peace individual members, including life members and honorary members.

b. Eligibility:

Any organisation or individual who supports the aims of the IPB may apply for membership. All applicants must fill in an application formand submit it to the Secretariat.

c. Granting/withdrawal of membership:

The admission of new organisational members shall be decided by a two-thirds majority of votes cast at ameeting of the Council. Membership may be withdrawn by the decision of the same majority of members on the grounds that:
(i) the policy of the organisation is no longer in conformity with that of the IPB;
(ii) that it no longer functions;
(iii) that it has failed to pay membership fees or negotiate a waiver for 3 consecutive years. Equivalent provisions may be invoked in the case of individual members.

5. Structure and Officers

The IPB has three policy-making bodies: the Assembly, the Council, and the Steering Committee. The elected Officers are President, Treasurer, and Vice-Presidents.

The role of the President is to coordinate the work of the decision-making bodies and to be the chief representative of the IPB in its external relations. S/he has the right to vote in elections to, and resolutions in, all policy-making bodies.

The role of the Treasurer is to take final responsibility for the administration of IPB funds and all financial reports. This work involves close cooperation with staff, Steering Committee and auditors.

The role of Vice-Presidents is to deputise where appropriate for the President, and to promote the work and good name of IPB in their own regions or fields. Each Vice-President shall be given, by the Steering Committee, a portfolio with a specific area of work.

The Steering Committee shall appoint a Secretary-General to run the International Secretariat, and other staff as required. IPB Council may appoint an Honorary President at any time.

6. The IPB Assembly

a. Role: The Assembly is the highest policy-making body of the IPB. It is also a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and resources among civil society movements, scholars and activists.

b. Composition: It is open to Council members, plus individuals belonging to IPB member organisations, individual IPB members and observers.

c. Meetings
: It meets at least once every three years, at a location decided and announced by the Steering Committee at least five months before the meeting.

d. Functions
: It lays down broad guidelines for the policy of the organisation in the period ahead. It is responsible for electing, on the recommendation of the outgoing Nominations Committee: a President, up to 6 Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer, the regional representatives of the Council, confirming those elected by member organisations in each region, up to 9 directly-elected members of the Steering Committee, and the members of the Nominations Committee. All the above will serve for a term of 3 years. They may be re-nominated and re-elected for a 2nd term of three years. After 6 years continuous service, an Officer, Steering Committee member or Council member must stand down for 3 years before standing again for that post. The Steering Committee and the Nomination Committee will be elected from the members of the new Council.

e. Voting
: As far as possible decisions shall be taken by consensus. In elections and any other Assembly matters requiring it, voting, whether director by proxy, is restricted to member organisations who have paid their fees for the current year or have been granted a decision to free them from thefee for the current year. The votes which may be cast are as follows: International/national organisations: 2 Local/area organisations and associates: 1 Individual members: no vote In the event of an equal vote, there shall be a recount, and a re-vote, and if the equality remains, the resolution or other matter shall be considered lost. This rule shall also apply to the Council and Steering Committee. In the case of a tie in elections, all candidates with the same score shall be accepted into post, except in the case of the President and Treasurer, where the matter shall be referred to the Steering Committee for action.

7. The IPB Council

a. Role: The role of the IPB Council is to implement the policies decided by the Assembly, and to guide the work of officers, Steering Committee and staff. The Council is also a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and resources among its members and the Officers and Secretariat. Between meetings, the regional representatives are encouraged to maintain regular contact with their members in their region in questions concerning IPB’s campaigns and other activities and to foster the development of IPB regional activity.

b. Composition
: The Council is composed of: President, Treasurer, Vice-Presidents, members of the Steering Committee; plus: 2 regional representatives for each region elected by member organisations based in that geographical region. The regions are defined in an annexe to the Rules of Procedure. A region shall contain not less than 3 and not more than 15 member organisations. The Council is permitted to appoint co-opted members. Such co-options should make up no more than 10 % of the Council. Co-options may be for any period up to 3 years. The period of co-option ends at the start of elections for a new Council. In addition to 2 delegates, each region shall also elect 2 alternates. An alternate shall attend when a delegate is unable to do so, or has resigned. The Council may also allow the participation of non-voting observers.

c. Gender balance
: IPB is committed to the active pursuit of gender balance in all areas of its work and at all levels of governance. Thus, in order to ensure a gender-balanced Council, each region shall elect one male and one female delegate, plus one male and one female alternate. Gender balance shall also apply to directly-elected Council members, and the Steering Committee.

d. Meetings
: The Council meets once a year, including in years in which there is an IPB Assembly. e. Functions: The Council is responsible for:
(i) reviewing the previous year’s work;
(ii) reviewing and approving the accounts of the previous financial year;
(iii) discussing the priorities of IPB’s future work and drawing up an action plan on the basis of a recommendation from the Steering Committee;
(iv) approving the budget for the ensuing year and deciding the annual membership fees;
(v) appointing auditors; (vi) appointing IPB’s consultants, which is an honorary title given to individuals who have distinguished themselves in the service of peace. They are appointed for three years, but their position is renewable if approved by the Assembly;
(vii) deciding upon all other matters submitted to it by the Steering Committee;
(viii) dealing with emergency items, which may be added to the agenda with the consent of the Council;
(ix) reporting all its decisions to the members via the minutes.

8. IPB Steering Committee

a. Role:
The Steering Committee shall exercise the authority of the IPB between meetings of the Council, and shall be responsible for the practical management of the organisation between meetings of the Council. Its primary task is to support and supervise the work of the staff. It shall also issue policy statements from time to time.

b. Composition
: It shall consist of the President, the Treasurer, the Vice Presidents and not less than 3 and no more than 9 other members. A maximum of 3 co-opted non-voting members may also attend regularly during the term. The Steering Committee may appoint its own Chair person and invite experts to attend its meetings. The Secretary-General shall take part in the meetings, without power to vote, and being responsible for the drafting of the minutes. In between meetings of the Steering Committee, if urgent matters arise which have to be dealt with, authority is delegated to the President, Vice Presidents with special portfolios, management groups of the Steering Committee and the Secretary-General, between whom there shall be regular consultations. The President shall have the final say.

c. Meetings
: The Steering Committee shall meet at least three times a year, either in person or by tele-conferencing. There shall be, at a minimum,one meeting in person per year.

d. Functions
: The Steering Committee shall:
(i) appoint staff and be responsible for their welfare, discipline and contractual arrangements;
(ii) set up and dissolve working groups;
(iii) oversee the Secretariat finances and take decisions on authorizations
(iv) assist the Secretariat to implement the decisions of the Assembly and Council, and to ensure that proposals are circulated and adequately discussed between Council meetings;
(v) elect three representatives to the International Liaison Committee of Organisations for Peace (ILCOP) Foundation established in Switzerland, in conformity with the process of election laid down in the rules of the Foundation;
(vi) report annually to the Council on the work it has done;
(vii) take all other necessary decisions.

9. Finance

a. Fees: Members shall pay annual membership fees, whose levels are to be determined by the Council, which shall also approve provisions for those unable to pay the full fee.

b. Fundraising
: shall be the responsibility of all members and shall be addressed at all levels of policy-making. The Secretary-General and the Secretariat are expected to research, prepare and advance proposals for funding.

c. The financial year
: shall begin on 1st January and end on 31st December. d. Non-liability: Unless otherwise agreed in writing, no organisation or individual represented or co-opted on the Council or Steering Committee shall be under any liability by reason of any act or default of IPB; or have any right to, or interest in, any property of IPB.

10. Constitutional Revision

The present Constitution may be revised by the Assembly, following a recommendation from the Council. Any proposal for revision must be submitted to the Secretariat at least 6 months in advance of the next Council and shall be circulated to the IPB membership at least 4 months in advance of the next Council, where it shall be discussed. All decisions take effect immediately unless otherwise stated in the decision. If the Council amends or rejects the proposal it must give its reasons for doing so. The original proposer may then submit their original proposal to the Assembly, provided they are supported in writing by at least 5 other member organisations. A majority of two-thirds of the votes cast in both Council and Assembly are necessary to revise the Constitution.

11. Dissolution

A proposal for dissolution of the IPB must be submitted to the Assembly under the same conditions as for proposals for the revision of the Constitution. To carry a proposal for dissolution, a majority of four-fifths of the votes cast shall be necessary. Any assets remaining after the payment of liabilities shall be transferred to the International Liaison Committee for Peace (ILCOP) Foundation, registered by law in Switzerland, or an international peace organisation with similar aims.

12. Language and Judicial Forum

The original language of this Constitution is English. Translations are welcomed in any language. In the event of dispute the judicial forum is Geneva, and the English-language text shall prevail.